A Colourful Radiant Smile
— By Rajni Jaiswal Bagchi
(Reading Time: 7 min Approx)
Rita was walking towards the Metro station. Entering the station, she took a fatigued step to the staircase, and casually looked around. It was 5.30 pm. Rita began to think with a sigh, about the drudgery of her routine work. Preparing food for her old mother, feeding and taking care of her medicine, dusting, cleaning alongside checking copies of her students.
Rita, a primary school teacher, commuted from Dumdum to Tollygunge almost every day for her work. Yet she used to have everything she wished, for when her Dad was alive. Rita was her father’s little angel. Her father always encouraged her to do the things she wanted to.
How colourful were those days! Rita used to sketch and draw whatever she saw, Mom is cooking, Dad is reading, flower blooms, dog barks, annual sports-there were so many images feeling her drawing books. Her father admitted her to the Nehru Children’s Museum for better training in art. Rita used to dream that one day, she would be a student of the Great Art College. But, alas as goes the saying man proposes and God disposes.
When Rita’s father died in an accident, she was bound to join the first job which came her way and thus began a monotonous routine of a life
The moment Rita entered home; she heard her mother shouting at a little girl of about ten. This was Meera, the daughter of, their house maid, Mala who had not come that day and had sent her daughter instead. Rita looked at the girl’s young eyes filled with tears “why are you crying Beta?” she asked
“I was playing with colours and Granny scolded me.” She replied.
“Playing with colours”- Rita remembered a voice, the voice of her father who used to say, “Come Beta we will play with colours.”
Rita looked around. She searched out some the colours from her desk. She gave the little girl papers, colours and a brush. She said, “Draw whatever you want”.
After a while, the girl came to her and handed her the sheet. “I Love my cat.” She said. Rita was surprised to see the painting of a cute kitten drawn on the piece of paper she had given. The little girl seemed to be true artist at heart and Rita knew she had discovered talent.
“What’s your name?” she asked “Meera”, replied the child. Rita hugged the little one and decided in her mind to nurture this young talent.
That night, when she pondered about herself, her parents, her unhappy and monotonous life, she felt the agony of her broken dreams paining her from within. She was thinking of her idols in painting. The discussions with her father about Monalisa’s smile, Rembrant’s art of light and shadow, Jamini Roy’s style of drawing eyes, Patachitra of Kalighat, Abanindranath Tagore’s ‘Bharatmata’, Bikash Bhattacharya’s ‘Bhairavi’, Paresh Maiti’s series of ‘Benares’, Ganesh Pynes’s ‘Mahabharata’ series and countless other genres of art. Those days were so inspiring. She had dreamt of being a great artist, but she had not been able to put a single step forward towards that aim.
The next day was Sunday. Rita finished her household work quickly went to Meera’s house. The child’s mother was a bit surprised when Rita said, “I’m taking your daughter along with me for a while”.
It was to the Nehru children’s Museum that they went, where Rita enrolled Meera to join a drawing class.
“How do you feel Meera?”, she asked. Meera hugged her flashing a wonderful smile. This innocent smile seemed to bring a lot of meaning to Rita’s life. The two had lunch together and by the time they returned it was quite late. That night, it was Meera’s beautiful smile that dominated Rita’s thoughts above all else.
Rita suddenly felt an urge to overcome all her obstacles. There seemed to be a sort of an awakening within her. She felt inclined to live meaningfully in creativity peace and happiness.
She got up and opened the desk which had remained untouched for a long time. She set up a canvas with colours, and holding a paint brush in her hand, she began to draw the masterpiece of her dreams, which she determined to exhibit in an art Gallery. The title of the painting was- “The Radiant Colourful Smile”.